Art Alley Launch

Art Alley Mural Launched with Poet Laureate Dionne Brand

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dionne Brand, City of Toronto Poet Laureate, joined us on Tuesday, October 19 at our Gallery in Islington Village for the official launch of our new 1000 square foot poetry mural.

Special guests also included former mayor David Miller, Amnesty International staff and volunteers, project mural artists, project volunteers, youth participants and members of the media.

The event featured a 'walking reading' of the poem by Dionne Brand through the long, narrow alleyway beside our office and gallery, as well as a performance of African dance by Iranian-Canadian dancer Roshanak Jaberi, complete with live African drumming. On display in our gallery was the interactive exhibition 'Off the Wall' which included artwork by youth who created their own interpretation of Brand's poem in free workshops led by artist Faten Toubasi.

The mural is produced by Arts Etobicoke, participating in Amnesty International's Project: Urban Canvas – A mural series celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. www.aito.ca/urbancanvas. Project: Urban Canvas will produce 30 murals throughout the GTA, each interpreting one of the 30 articles of human rights.

We chose Article 13 for our mural - “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” because of its special meaning for the large immigrant population in Etobicoke. Executive Director Louise Garfield explained, "The ability to incorporate poetry and visual art, to shine the light on issues of migration, immigration and the right to freedom of movement across borders is an honour for us."

Dionne Brand, the City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate, was commissioned to write an original poem based on this article. The mural was designed by Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos with assistance by youth from Etobicoke.

We acknowledge the support of the following supporters: City of Toronto's Arts in the Hood/Live with Culture; Pierre Seunik, PS Group of Companies, Emimax Holdings Inc.; Village Paint. Thank you to long-time Arts Etobicoke volunteer Karina Dahlin who generously contributed her time and expertise to this project.

Robert Carter, Photographer

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